Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Torque: 265 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 18/city, 22/highway, 20/combined
Base price: $46,640
As tested: $50,733
Overview: The Toyota Tacoma is America’s most popular midsize truck. That’s because it delivers Toyota’s legendary dependability, excellent off-road capability and great resale value. Model-year 2022 added an off-road lifted suspension for the TRD Pro and for SR5 trucks with the Trail Edition package. Our test-driver was the TRD Pro and this review focuses on that vehicle.
Walkaround: The Tacoma features two cab sizes: extended and crew; and two bed lengths: 5 or 6 feet. The Tacoma’s pickup bed — both the 5-foot and 6-foot versions — is made from a dent-resistant and rust-proof composite. Our Electric Lime green test-driver — a color that generated a lot of attention — was the crew cab with the 5-foot bed. The body is the standard three-box pickup, but the TRD Pro features more muscular lines with sharper details, a lifted suspension, plus distinctive trim and prominent badging.
Interior: The interior of the Tacoma has room for two tall passengers up front in comfortable, TRD-branded, leather, heated power seats, but the available sunroof lowers headroom. Toyota has finally offered height-adjustable front seats. For a long time, they just traveled back and forth. Two passengers can fit in the back seat of the crew cab — and maybe three on short trips. The Tacoma features lots of switches and buttons on the dash and additional controls fitted into the headliner, eschewing the touchscreen-crazy techno trend. But it does have an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation and other basic functions. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, and our test-driver featured JBL premium audio with subwoofer and six speakers, as well as satellite radio. Fit and finish are excellent. Automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings and adaptive cruise control are also standard.
Behind the wheel: The 3.5-liter V6 delivers a robust 278 horses and the six-speed automatic is tuned for better fuel economy than the six-speed manual. However, serious off-roaders may prefer the manual gearbox. The TRD Pro ride is firm and stable on the highway while its upgraded shocks can easily diminish off-road ruts. It has good handling for a pickup and well-weighted steering, and can handle a twisty two-lane better than most competitors. Most knowledgeable buyers choose the Tacoma for its hardcore capabilities. Meanwhile, the TRD Pro boasts a locking rear differential and traction control modes that take the challenge out of finding traction, and keeps marginally experienced off-roaders out of trouble.
Bottom line: The Toyota Tacoma — in any configuration — is a rock-solid pickup suitable for a myriad of uses. Off-road enthusiasts love the Tacoma TRD Pro for the trail-blazing ability it brings straight from its Texas assembly line.